Harlequin Rasboras dying one by one?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by BowtieGuy, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    Hello everyone, sorry to have my first post be under dire circumstances but I have not been able to find an answer to my problem. My Harlequin Rasboras have been dying off recently. The dead fish show no outward symptoms. Gills look normal. All fish act normally until death.

    A few weeks ago I added 3 young small Harlequin Rasboras and 1 Cobra Guppy as well as another Cobra Guppy about a week later to my already established tank that had 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 3 Guppies and around 30 Red Cherry Shrimp (Totals: 9 Harlequin Rasbora, 5 Guppies, 30 Red Cherry Shrimp). Since then I've lost 6 Rasboras, 2 Guppies(1 Cobra, 1 regular) and still have all of my RCS. My take has been established for over a year now, most of that time with 6 Harleys, 3 Guppies and 25-30 RCS. 1 Guppy had been in there for a year, so may have just been old.

    Typically, all will look, act and eat perfectly normal and then I will wake up the next morning to find one dead. The only thing I can think of is parasites, because I cannot see any outward symptoms on the deceased fish. Most of the dead fish look like they could be living if they weren't laying dead on the bottom. Poop looks normal. Gills normal. The only clue I have is I found one of my Rasboras acting as if it had swim bladder disease (swimming vertically). It began doing that within 1-3 hours of its death without any prior symptoms, which makes me think it is not swim bladder disease. I have not begun any treatments.

    Does anyone have any advice on what it could be? Parasites?

    Does anyone have advice on shrimp safe treatments? Seachem Paraguard?

    Test results from API Freshwater Master Test Kit:
    pH: 7.6
    Ammonia: 0-0.25ppm (Has been 0 during previous tests, maybe slight elevation due to dead fish?)
    Nitrite: 0 ppm
    Nitrate: 15 ppm (Looked between 10-20 ppm)

    Tank Data:
    -35 gallon hexagonal
    -Temperature: 76 degrees Fahrenheit
    -Filtration: Aquaclear 50
    -Time established: Over 1 year
    -25%-33% Water changes usually every 2-3 weeks. Gravel is always vacuumed.
    -Live christmas moss for the RCS
    -Black gravel
    -Receives indirect sunlight exposure over the course of the day, some hood lighting at night before midnight.
    -Fed once a day with Omega One fresh water flakes (recently changed to Omega One super color flakes after deaths began).
  2. GenaWell Known MemberMember

    You might want to consider doing more frequent water changes.
  3. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    Do you really, honestly think that 25%-33% water changes every 2-3 weeks could be the cause of this? I find that rather hard to believe, especially with my current Nitrate level and given how sensitive RCS are to water quality issues.
  4. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to Fish Lore!!! Hey, my first post was under pretty "dire" circumstances too haha! :)

    It is possible that one of the new fish brought something in, like a sickness. I have been struggling with something like that recently, I bought six new cories and then I lost two of the cories, both of my guppies, and two of my glofish danios, and all of them looked fine except for the guppy developed a rip in his tail and one of the cories looked really skinny and weak so I knew he was going to die. But the rest looked fine. Do you QT your fish?

    Also, I agree with Gena about the water changes. I do about 25% or so every week, as well as vacuuming the gravel (most of the time).

    For now, I might recommend doing a few water changes to see if that helps get the ammonia down. :)
  5. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    The ammonia level has been 0 previously during testing. I believe the slightly elevated level, which is between 0 and 0.25 ppm, was due to the recent deaths. Is it a consensus that the ammonia could be the cause? I will try doing a couple of water changes over the course of the next few days, but I do not believe my problem is related to ammonia level.

    My guess is that the new fish brought something in. What it is exactly, I am not sure of. Possibly parasites? The Harleys seem to be largely affected, while the RCS have not been affected at all.
  6. GenaWell Known MemberMember

    I'm not saying it's why this is happening, I'm saying it can't be helping. Weekly water changes are your friend. Also, water changes have multiple benefits that cannot be measured with a test kit. It replenishes trace minerals that your fish need, removes built up minerals that your fish don't need, aerates the water, etc.
  7. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    I don't really think it was the ammonia that would be killing them because I think it would be showing signs. I do agree that the ammonia could very well be a result of the recent fish deaths. But, if left unchecked the ammonia could cause problems in your tank, which you seem to already know, so that's good. :)

    I really don't know about what exactly killed the fish. Like I said, it sounds a lot like what happened with mine and I still don't know exactly what happened. Actually, the die-off was last week, so...... I think it was suggested somewhere though (maybe at an LFS) that it could be a parasite. I just don't know on this one though.

    Sorry for your losses btw. :(
  8. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    Does anyone have any insight as to the cause of my fish deaths and how to treat whatever ailment is afflicting them? I would rather not try to treat for anything with medication without at least a consensus on cause. I have not had any fish die for over 8 months before this.
    BornThisWayBettas Did you find a solution to your cause, or did you just have to weather it out and it went away on its own?
  9. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

  10. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    Yes, I read through your thread and it appears it got off topic without really finding a cause of your deaths. If I don't get a consensus on cause within the next few days, I will likely just treat for my initial suspicion of parasites. Is Seachem Paraguard safe for my RCS inverts?
  11. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Well, they were trying to help anyways, and they might've saved me from a future headache with the filters, so..... Don't know about the meds and shrimp, really. Except I've heard not to use anything with copper with inverts, so I don't know if that one type of medication is safe for them.
  12. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    Paraguard does not contain copper. I didn't see any threads online about it harming shrimp, just the opposite at lower than recommended doses, so I suppose I could start at a 3/4 dose and see.
  13. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Have you seen this?:  
  14. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    Yes I saw that FAQ from Seachem. Unfortunately, if all of my fish die, it becomes a shrimp only tank, which is a very poor use of a 35 gallon hex due to its tall dimensions (not that its a great tank dimension wise to start with). On the forums, Paraguard seems to be one of the few parasite treatments that is safe, if used with caution.
  15. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    That too, is true. I wish you the best of luck with this, and please, keep us posted on how this is going! :)
  16. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    I lost another Rasbora today. Same situation. It was fine last night, ate normally, and then was dead this morning. I had waited a couple days on feeding them and fed them last night. This morning one more was dead.

    Does this seem to confirm parasites to anyone? I'm down to two Rasboras (from 9 before). now. Without any help, it looks like I soon won't have any Harlequins left. :-\
  17. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    I really don't know much about parasites, really. Did you start treating with those meds?
  18. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    I've been holding off because I am not 100% on that diagnosis, and with so few Rasboras left, it may not make a difference anyways. I'd rather lose the last two Rasboras than my RCS. I did a couple of 25% water changes, but it doesn't appear to have made any difference.

    The guppies have seemed unaffected throughout the whole thing. Of the two guppies that died, one was over a year old (which is to say, who knows how old it was before I got it as most are already fully grown when purchased)and passed before new stock was added and the other I believe to be bad stock (In my limited experience, typically the "prettier" the guppy is, the less hardy they are).

    Unfortunately it doesn't appear that I'm getting much help from others as to what might be the cause.
  19. thinkpink94Valued MemberMember

    Hi BowtieGuy

    I recently lost a puffer fish and I'm not sure if it was to a parasite (but like in your case, the death was sudden). How long have you had the rasboras (both the original 6 and the new 3)? Did you quarantine the new ones before adding them to your tank? Maybe one of the new fish you added passed a disease to your tank. I’m by no means an expert, but it only seems logical that since you’ve lost so many fish so suddenly, it’s an outbreak of some kind. I found this helpful website earlier today while I was doing my own research, and I wanted to share it with you in case it could be of any help (I thought the drawings could be helpful in identifying an illness and it at least might give you something to go off of)


    In future, I agree with what everyone else has said. The best preventative measure seems to be weekly water changes. I agree, it’s totally a pain in the butt, but in the end, it’s a lot less involved than trying to play doctor dolittle and find out what’s going on with a sick fish :)

    Also, something I noticed on the website I linked you to is that you’re not just lowering ammonia when you do water changes, you’re also lowering the levels of potentially harmful entities. Under the section “Body Flukes” it explains that “Flukes (flatworms approximately 1 mm long) are often present in aquariums but remain harmless under ideal conditions.” This is something I didn’t even know about!
  20. BowtieGuyNew MemberMember

    The problems began less than a week after adding the 3 new Rasboras, so I am sure that the brought it in with them.
    Thanks thinkpink94 for the link. I hadn't thought of gill flukes as a possibility. It looks like a parasite treatment is in order.